A craning action consists of rising and descending in the frontal plane. Craning up differs from tilting up in that the craning action maintains a horizontal line of vision, whereas the horizon line in a tilting action is modified with each degree of movement. To experience the effect of a craning action, begin in a grand plié with eyes looking horizontally forward. Slowly rise to relevé keeping the eyes forward. Like a tilting action, the crane shot emphasizes motion in the vertical dimension, but requires attention to the ever-changing horizontal composition within the frame. Craning actions may be combined with tilting, panning, dollying, tracking, and zooming.

Craning Up (Rope Phrase)

Craning Up with Jason on Rope

Craning Down (Lift to Floor)

Craning Down with Lift Lowered to Floor

A physical craning apparatus affords motion similar to circumduction of the shoulder and hip sockets, which combines abduction, adduction, flexion, and extension, resulting in the possibility of an arcing movement. A crane extends the capabilities of camera motion in both level and range of movement. OK, here’s another crazy analogy…if the index finger is the camera lens, then the wrist is like the tripod joint that makes tilting possible. Extend your elbow to create the arm of the crane, and the shoulder becomes the crane’s point of contact that allows for moving the camera upward, downward, sideward, and around in arcs or circles!